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Atlanta United FC 2018 MLS Cup Championship commemorative book

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Published by Skybox Press, 2018-12-13 12:10:47

United We Stand! Celebrating Atlanta's Incredible Championship Season

Atlanta United FC 2018 MLS Cup Championship commemorative book

Keywords: Soccer

•8•

UNITED WE STAND!

A tlanta United was not supposed to be this good, this fast. The team earned 69 points during the regular season, a total that
would have set an MLS record, were it not for the New York Red Bulls’ 71 points—though Atlanta would claim the more important
victory over the Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference Championship. The Five Stripes became just the second expansion club to

reach MLS Cup in its second year, and forward Josef Martinez shattered the single-season scoring record with 31 goals. Atlanta United’s

success was matched by its popularity, as the team averaged a league-record 53,002 fans per home game.

Head Coach Tata Martino, the charismatic Argentine, who Martinez’s 25th-minute penalty put the series out of reach. It ended
previously oversaw both FC Barcelona and his home country’s 4-1 on aggregate, with Atlanta advancing to the Eastern Conference
national team, pulled all the right strings. He transformed Championship against the Red Bulls.
über-talented midfielder Darlington Nagbe into the possession-
focused, incisive ball-playing weapon. He designed his attack to United saved arguably its best performance of the year for the
free up brilliant Paraguayan playmaker Miguel Almirón, resulting first leg. Before a massive and raucous home crowd of 70,016 fans,
in a league-high 70 goals scored for the club. Captain Michael Atlanta dominated, winning 3-0. Martinez opened the scoring with a
Parkhurst—never the biggest, fastest, or strongest player on the deft chest-trap/chip combination, while Franco Escobar’s left-footed
field, but always one of the smartest—organized the defense and volley and Tito Villalba’s shot from distance iced the match. In the
facilitated United’s play-from-the-back style. While Atlanta wasn’t return leg, United absorbed pressure on a frigid night in Harrison,
perfect, the team fixed its mistakes quickly, never going more than New Jersey, and the Red Bulls couldn’t find the net until second-half
three matches without a victory. stoppage time. Atlanta won the series 3-1 on aggregate. The team
and their frenzied fans got their wish to host MLS Cup.
Martino’s squad started strong, winning seven of its first eight
games. The stretch included a number of lopsided scorelines: The dream came true. In front of an MLS Cup–record 73,019
3-1 against D.C. United, 4-1 each versus the Vancouver Whitecaps fans, Martino’s club squeezed the Timbers defensively while tallying
and the Montreal Impact, 5-0 over expansion side LAFC. Martinez twice in the attack. The first goal came off a sliding tackle from
scored seven times, demonstrating his ability to get some part of his Michael Parkhurst—who had previously played in four MLS
body on the ball and send it into the back of the net, often off a feed Cups without a victory—that sent the ball screaming 30 yards to
from Almirón. Atlanta played attractive, effective, possession-based Martinez. The MVP rounded goalkeeper Jeff Attinella and scored to
soccer throughout the summer and into the fall, earning 10 wins put his squad ahead. Atlanta iced the match in the 54th minute with
and 2 draws over its final 15 games, as well as the No. 2 seed and a an Almirón free kick that Martinez flicked onto the foot of a streaking
first-round bye in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Franco Escobar. The right back did not miss...and the defense did
not yield...and when the final whistle blew, Atlanta rejoiced at having
In the opening leg of their Conference Semifinal versus New York won the city’s first professional sports championship trophy in
City FC at Yankee Stadium, Almirón returned, playing the first half nearly a quarter century.
and providing an emotional boost in a 1-0 victory. In the home leg,

•9•

• 10 •

REGULAR SEASON

• 11 •

LEFT
Greg Garza vies for the
ball against Houston’s
Alberth Ellis in Atlanta’s
season opener.

OPPOSITE
Josef Martinez wasn’t
afraid to try anything to
score a goal, including
this bicycle kick against
D.C. United.

• 12 •

• 13 •

• 14 •

OPPOSITE
Josef Martinez scores
the opening strike in
Atlanta’s first win of
the season, a 3-1 home
victory over D.C. United.

RIGHT
Miguel Almirón (10)
is congratulated by
teammates after his
second half goal
versus D.C. United.

• 15 •

LEFT
Midfielder Jeff Larentowicz
helps Leandro Gonzalez
after the defender was
injured during the first half
against Vancouver.

OPPOSITE
Michael Parkhurst and
Vancouver forward
Erik Hurtado tangle in
Atlanta’s 4-1 victory
over the Whitecaps.

• 16 •

• 17 •

The Atlanta bench
bundles up during a 1-0
win against Minnesota
United in March.

• 18 •

Georgia native Andrew
Carleton gets in on the
action against LAFC.

• 19 •

Midfielder Chris McCann scores on a header
in a 2-2 home draw with New York City FC.

• 20 •

• 21 •

LEFT
Josef Martinez keeps
his eye on the prize
against Los Angeles
Galaxy defender
Jorgen Skjelvik.

OPPOSITE
Kevin Kratz scored two
goals in a 4-1 rout of the
Montreal Impact.

• 22 •

• 23 •

• 24 •

OPPOSITE
U.S. Men’s National Team
goalkeeper Brad Guzan
makes a save against
the Chicago Fire in a
2-1 victory.

RIGHT
Paul Christensen lends
a hand to dejected
defender Leandro
Gonzalez after Atlanta
gave up a goal to
Sporting Kansas City.

• 25 •

Midfielder Ezequiel
Barco finds the range
for what proved to be
the winning goal in a
2-1 victory against
Orlando City SC.

• 26 •

Head Coach Gerardo
Martino was the
mastermind of
Atlanta United’s
MLS Cup success.

• 27 •

• 28 •

OPPOSITE
Midfielder Jeff Larentowicz
states his case after Greg
Garza’s red card in a 3-1
defeat to the New York
Red Bulls.

RIGHT
Josef Martinez walks off
the field after scoring
Atlanta’s lone goal in
a 1-1 draw against the
New England Revolution.

• 29 •

No other team enjoyed crowds that were as enthusiastic or as large
as United’s, as Atlanta fans came out in record-shattering numbers.

• 30 •

• 31 •

LEFT
U.S. international star
Darlington Nagbe was an
important part of United’s
versatile midfield.

OPPOSITE
Columbus Crew SC midfielder
Lalas Abubakar tumbles over
Atlanta forward Romario
Williams after heading the
ball in Atlanta’s 2-0 win.

• 32 •

• 33 •

• 34 •

OPPOSITE
Defender Franco Escobar
maintains his focus as he
controls the ball against
the Portland Timbers.

RIGHT
The city rallied behind its
second-year soccer team.

• 35 •

LEFT
While United was known
for its attack, its defense
often took center stage,
as Franco Escobar
exemplifies with his
tackle on Orlando City
SC’s Mohamed El-Munir.

OPPOSITE
Defender Mikey
Ambrose keeps his
eye on the ball while
defending FC Dallas’
Michael Barrios.

• 36 •

• 37 •

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan makes a second-half save
in a 2-0 win against the Philadelphia Union.

• 38 •

• 39 •


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